Triennial event expected to draw more than 20,000 baking professionals.

LAS VEGAS — In less than eight months, thousands of baking professionals from across the world will descend on Las Vegas for the 2016 International Baking Industry Exposition (IBIE). In many ways, IBIE is like the just completed Super Bowl — but with a baking twist.

Whereas the National Football League’s Super Bowl brings together the NFL’s two best teams in front of millions of fans and corporate sponsors, the IBIE brings together the baking industry’s biggest supporters and suppliers. Both events are huge, with build-up unmatched for their respective industries.

For IBIE, the build-up takes place over several years. The triennial event, which is sponsored by the American Bakers Association, BEMA and the Retail Bakers of America, this year will take place Oct. 8-11 in Las Vegas.

Since the 2007 Bakery Expo, the event has more than doubled its attendance, and after show management said 85% of its show floor was already sold out, organizers in mid-January announced they are opening an additional hall to meet the increased demand for space on the show floor.

The event is expected to attract more than 20,000 baking professionals representing all segments of the grain-based foods industry.

“IBIE is widely becoming an international launching pad for new products and technology,” said Michael Cornelis, chairman, IBIE 2016. “And it’s no wonder. Suppliers know that there’s no better way to get in front of the entire baking industry in one place.”

Show management said 574 exhibitors already are committed to IBIE 2016 — including 120 new exhibitors to the show representing all facets of the supply chain.

Attracting a new audience

Organizers for IBIE have taken a different approach to attracting exhibitors and attendees since the event held in 2013. Last fall, IBIE attended iba, representing the group’s unofficial kickoff of procuring international exhibitors and attendees.

“A company doesn’t just decide at the last minute to go to Las Vegas with a piece of equipment, or even attend the show,” Robb MacKie, president and chief executive officer of the American Bakers Association, said at iba. “There has to be some lead time, and year two is when we start working those international relations.”

For its part, the IBIE planning committee has identified countries that have stood out in terms of product and technology innovation and who would benefit from a presence at IBIE Some of those countries include Argentina, South Africa, Brazil and China.

In addition to developing international relations, iba was a chance for IBIE organizers to see what equipment and ingredient innovations are coming out of Europe and what will be of interest to bakers a year from now.

Another way IBIE built internationally was by attending Gulfood Manufacturing (GFM) in October 2015. IBIE committee members traveled to Dubai, United Arab Emirates, to learn and share knowledge about the food and beverage processing industry. The show focused on key elements like next generation manufacturing, food logistics, and food and beverage innovation.

According to IBIE, 55% of GFM attendees originated from Gulf Cooperation Council countries, reflecting the growth of the food and beverage industry in the Middle East, Africa and South East Asia regions.

In 2016, IBIE’s international lounge will feature more translators and enhanced features for conducting business in a more comfortable environment, the organization said. In 2013, IBIE attracted a record attendance with visitors from 105 countries.

Exhibitors get sneak peek

On Jan. 13, IBIE hosted an Exhibitors Meeting at the Las Vegas Convention Center. The purpose of the meeting was to provide information, facts and money saving tips for those planning to exhibit at this year’s IBIE convention.

Presenters included representatives from Show Management, Freeman, Cox Business (telecommunications), Experient (registration), a2z software (match making software), Schenker (freight forwarder and customs broker) and various services available at the Convention Center. A brief tour of the exhibit halls was available for new attendees. There was no registration fee to attend.

The IBIE planning committee said turnout for the half-day event was better than expected, and for those who couldn’t attend the meeting, IBIE has set up a link on its web site to information presented at the meeting. PowerPoint presentation slides have been posted to the web site under the Exhibitor Resource. The link includes access to an exhibit hall floor plan, meeting space request form, sponsorship opportunities, exhibits flyers and a media advertising guide. IBIE also said it will be offering periodic webinars in 2016 that will touch on these important tips and services.

Building relationships

New to IBIE 2016, networkNow is a matchmaking program that will help exhibitors and buyers build meaningful and valuable business relationships. networkNow generates recommended matches for event participants based on precise matching criteria. The portal will open in late-spring to allow exhibitors and attendees to begin scheduling on-site appointments in advance of the show.

For more information on IBIE visit